Two Months of Street Demonstrations in Catalonia

September 20th to November 16th 2017

From September to November 2017, there were multiple street demonstrations and rallies in Catalonia as a result of the Catalan conflict - some against but most in favour of independence.

The Catalan newspaper Ara recently published a downloadable dossier outlining the most important popular events between September 20th and November 16th.

I've captured some of the best photos and translated the texts into English and I've also linked these to my Catalan Headlines pages for the relevant dates so you can see how the events were reported by other newspapers.

September 20th: The streets will always be ours

Eleven days before the referendum on self-determination for Catalonia, the State carries out a massive police operation with the aim of deactivating the logistics for October 1st and makes raids on depertments of the Generalitat detaining 14 senior officials and the confiscation of 10 million voting slips. In reply to the police offensive, more than 40,000 people come out onto the streets to peacefully demonstrate the places where the raids and detentions were being made. The most multitudinous is in front of the Department of Economy in Barcelona on the corner of Gran Via and Rambla de Catalunya, which lasts well into the early hours of the morning. September 20th is key because it marks the start of a series of almost permanent mobilisations on the streets around Catalonia.

September 21st: This is about Democracy

More than 20,000 people called by the Catalan National Assembly and Òmnium Cultural demand the release of the senior officials who are still detained and spend the whole day, and some the night as well, on Passeig de Lluís Companys in front of the Tribunal Superior de Justícia de Catalunya (TSJC), the Catalan High Court. The main shouts now aren't only for independence but also for democracy.

September 22nd: We will vote

The calling of a permanent mobilisation in front of the Catalan High Court by the pro-independence organisations is maintained and moreover thousands of people go to the Ciutat de Justícia in Hospitalet, where after two days in detention the six senior officials still under arrest are released. At the same time, thousands of students occupy the historic main building of the University of Barcelona in the Plaça de la Universitat in support of the referendum on October 1st with the aim of staying there the whole weekend.

September 24th: Marathon for Democracy

Òmnium and the ANC call around five hundred demonstrations in defence of the referendum on October 1st around Catalonia: a group of mobilisations under the name of Marathon for Democracy. In Barcelona, the pro-independence organisations distribute a million official voting slips and the Plaça de la Universitat is the scene of a multitudinous poster campaign in favour of the vote. The same actions are repeated in hundreds of Catalan towns.

September 28th: Firefighters and students mobilised

The student movement Universitats per la República (Universities for the Republic) calls a demonstration in favour of the referendum, which was attended by 16,000 people and ran from Plaça de la Universitat to Sants Railway Station. At the same time, hundreds of firefighters unfurl a banner from the Museu d'Història de Catalunya with the slogam "Love Democracy" and then join the student demonstration, where they are received with a round of applause.

September 30th: Catalonia is Spain

On the day before the referendum, around 5,500 people called by the organisation Españoles de a Pie demonstrate on the streets of Barcelona under the slogan "Cataluña es España" (Catalonia is Spain). They demand prison for the President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, and shout "no votaremos" (We won't vote). Some of the demonstrators try to pull off a banner from the facade of the City Council building, which reads "Més Democràcia" (More Democracy). There are also marches against holding the referendum in Tarragona and Reus.

October 3rd: Europe Where Are You?

Country stoppage against the police repression on October 1st with massive mobilisations and roads blocked around the country from the early hours of the morning until the evening. Just in Barcelona, 700,000 people participated to the calls that happened throughout the afternoon and of which the Plaça de la Universitat was that epicentre. Posters calling on the international community and criticising the lack of action by the European Union could be seen. The employers' association CECOT said they didn't have a record of such a large stoppage of business activity in their registers. It was unprecedented for the closures to be agreed by consensus between management and workers. In Girona 60,000 came out on the biggest demonstration in the city's history, in Lleida 45,000 and in Tarragona 20,000.

October 7th: Talk or Resign

Neither UDI nor 155. The citizen movement Parlem, Hablemos, which defines itself as a spontaneous movement without leaders, gathers 5,500 people in Plaça de Sant Jaume all dressed in white shirts and without flags demanding dialogue and demanding the Catalan and Spanish governments to "talk or resign". Other cries such as "No to the division of the Catalan people" and "The streets belong to everyone" were heard. There were also white rallies in front of the council buildings of the rest of the Catalan provincial capitals.

October 8th: Puigdemont to Prison

Societat Civil Catalana called a demonstration for the unity of Spain in Barcelona that brings out 350,000 Catalans and citizens coming from around the State - 950,000 according to the organisers - who march from the Plaça d'Urquinaona to the Estació de França and who vindicate themselves as the "silent majority" of Catalonia. This is the largest pro-Spain march ever seen in Barcelona and it demands a return to common sense. One of the most heard shouts is "Puigdemont to prison" and there are also placards in favour of the application of Article 155.

October 10th: Not a Single Step Backwards

Called by ANC and Òmnium, thousands of people follow on two giant screens on Passeig de Lluís Companys the parliamentary session in which Carles Puigdemont appears with the expectation of declaring independence. The festive atmosphere is clear with shouts of "Not a single step backwards", songs and all this is happening under the attentive looks of hundreds of journalists from the international media. The uncertainty is printed on the faces of the people when the President of the Generalitat, who appears an hour later than was planned, suspends the Catalan Republic just 8 seconds after declaring it in order to open up the possibility of dialogue.

October 12th: Dia de la Hispanitat

Four days after Spanish unionism's great achievement, which mobilised people from all over Spain, the organisations that defend the integrity of Spain call on the sympathisers to demonstrate in Barcelona again. This time they do so to celebrate Spain National Day in a march that runs down Passeig de Gràcia from La Pedrera to Plaça de Catalunya. 65.000 people participated vindicating October 12th as National Day and directed their chants against the Mossos d'Esquadra, TV3 and Carles Puigdemont. At the same time, 350 members of extreme right groups parade on Montjuïc singing the Francoist anthem "Cara al sol" and waving pre-constitutional flags. As they do every October 12th, at the end of the march, they burn esteladas.

October 17th: A Sea of Candles

Demonstrations around the country to protest against the imprisonment of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart. In Barcelona, at the meeting of Passeig de Gràcia and La Diagonal, 200,000 people light a sea of candles. "Freedom" and "You're not alone" are the cries that resound as a show of support to first political prisoners of the Process. The same thing happened in Tarragona, Girona and Lleida and in hundreds of towns, where the demonstrations throughout the day attracted thousands of citizens.

October 21st: What Do These People Want?

Great demonstration to demand the release of Sànchez and Cuixart. 450,000 people fill Passeig de Gràcia four hours after the Spanish government announced the suspension of the autonomy of Catalonia and all of its institutions. The demonstration, as well as being a massive show of support for the leaders of ANC and Òmnium Cultural becomes a cry against the application of Article 155. Great moments of emotion are experience with the singing of "Què volen aquesta gent?" (What do these people want?) sung by Maria del Mar Bonet and the reading of the poem by Mario Benedetti "De que se rie?" (What are they laughing about?)

October 25th: In Defence of Catalan Education

The educational community demonstrates in front of the council buildings of county capitals to defend education in Catalan, which the PP and Ciutadans had accused of being an instrument for the indoctrination of young children. In Barcelona, hundreds of people fill Plaça de Sant Jaume with shouts of "the schools will always be ours" and "don't touch our education".

October 26th: Puigdemont's Speech and Elections

A strike in the universities to demand freedom for Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart. Under this premise, the movement Universitats per la República calls a demonstration at 12 midday that ends in Plaça de Sant Jaume and brings together a thousand people. The march takes on a different tone with the publication of early news about Carles Puigdemont's intention to call elections. He has to make an appearance to give a speech at noon. Finally, the President of the Generalitat appears at 5 pm. Thousands of people in Plaça de Sant Jaume and outside Parliament listen to him, radios in their hands.

October 27th: The Catalan Republic

The day of the UDI and of 155 turns into a frenetic day of mobilisations. More than 15,000 people follow follow the parliamentary plenary session via giant screen located outside the Parc de la Ciutadella. The proclamation of the Catalan Republic receives 71 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 in blank. Those present, some of whom arrived at 10 in the morning, celebrate the event with bottles of cava and songs. The Festa de la República continues in Plaça de Sant Jaume, where at short notice the ANC organises an event that attracts 17,000 people with performances of Èric Vinaixa, Germà Negre, Elèctric Dharma, Gossos and Sense Sal. There are alsomultitudinous demonstrations in Tarragona, Lleida and Girona.

October 29th: Common Sense Will Help Us All Get On

The second great mobilisation called by Societat Civil Catalana in a month. About 300,000 people participate in a demonstration in the centre of Barcelona against the Catalan Republic and in favour of Article 155 under the slogan "Tots som Catalunya. Per la convivència, seny" (We're all Catalonia. Common sense will help us all get on.) and with their eyes set on the Catalan elections called by Mariano Rajoy for December 21st, after suspending the autonomy. The leaders of PP. Ciudadanos and PSC who go on the march encourage everyone to participate elections.

November 2nd: Government Imprisoned

The Audiencia Nacional decrees unconditional prison for Oriol Junqueras and seven members of the Catalan government - Jordi Turull, Meritxell Borràs, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva, Carles Mundó, Dolors Bassa and Joaquin Forn - and prison with bail for Santi Vila. The imprisonment of the consellers motivates a new mobilisation: 20,000 people gathered in Parc de la Ciutadella in front of the Parliament calling for the release of the political prisoners of the Process. In Girona, as many as 10,000 people did the same in the Plaça del Vi; in Lleida, 3,000 people congregate in the Plaça de la Paeria; and in Tarragona around 5,000 demonstrated in front of the Council building also calling for the resignation of the socialist mayor Ballesteros.

November 3rd: Freedom

As many as 8,000 people fill Plaça de Sant Jaume to demand freedom for the political prisoners, in a demonstration that is repeated in other squares around the country.

November 5th: We Are Republic

Massive poster campaigns around the country demanding the release of Sànchez, Cuixart and the members of the Catalan government. In Lleida, 18,000 people demonstrated from the Plaça de Ricard Vinyes to the Avinguda de Catalunya demanding the release of the political prisoners under the slogan "We Are Republic".

November 8th: Second Country Stoppage

General strike rejecting the imprisonment of members of the Catalan government and the leaders of the ANC and Òmnium Cultural. Although the stoppage is followed less than the one on October 3rd, the mobilisations around the country are still massive. The main roads are cut off and the AVE stations of Barcelona and Girona are blocked by pickets. Throughout the day there are multitudinous demonstrations, such as the one called by the pro-independence in front of Barcelona Cathedral, which was attended by 25,000 people.

November 11th: I Am a Catalan

"You are not alone" is the main cry shouted by the 750,000, who filled Carrer de la Marina in the mobilisation called in support of the political prisoners of the Process. The family and friends of the consellers and leaders of civilsociety lead the demonstration and read messages of thanks from their relatives from the prison. The concentration became a sea of light when, as night fell, the participants illuminated the sky with their mobile phones as "El cant dels ocells" by Pau Casals, and the wotds that the composer said at the United Nations "I am a Catalan" were repeated.

November 16th: A Month Behind Bars

It's a month since the imprisonment of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart and hundreds of people come out onto the streets again to demand their release with concentrations in front of council buildings. In the Plaça de Sant Jaume, the attendees organise a ribbon of light as a show of solidarity and recognise the presence of the prisoners with 10 green balloons.

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